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Information and statistics about the health of mothers and their babies is important for monitoring and evaluating the provision and outcomes of maternity services and care in Australia.

National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU)

The National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU) produces comprehensive statistics on mothers and babies. The NPESU is a collaborating unit of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and is based at The University of New South Wales. The NPESU manage several major national data collections.

Maternal and Perinatal data

The National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) is a national data collection of pregnancy and childbirth. The data are based on births reported to the perinatal data collection in each state and territory in Australia. Midwives and other staff complete notification forms for each birth. Each year, NPESU compile selected information into a national dataset.

The Perinatal National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) is a specification for perinatal data items for mandatory collection and reporting at a national level, and depends on a national agreement to collect the data in a uniform way. It includes data items relating to the mother, including demographic characteristics and factors relating to the pregnancy, labour and birth, and data items relating to the baby, including birth status, sex and birthweight.

The Perinatal dynamic data display provides progressively released data from the Australia’s mothers and babies reports. Several releases are planned and once completed, the data display will provide data for the entire maternal pathway, from demographics of mothers and babies through to the antenatal period, labour and birth, and outcomes for mothers and babies. Users can select different views of the data such as by state and territory, or maternal characteristics, for example, age, parity or ethnicity.

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Australia's mothers and babiesreport cover

NPESU's principal publications are the annual Australia's mothers and babies reports. A new perinatal dynamic data display now complements this publication.

Other publications

All AIHW/NPESU's mothers and babies and perinatal health reports

Maternity Information Matrix (MIM)

The Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) is a summary of data items in Australian national and jurisdictional data collections relevant to maternal and perinatal health.

The MIM documents data collection practices as at July 2013.

The MIM includes:

  • 45 data collections including perinatal collections, births and deaths, congenital anomalies and specialist collections
  • nearly 500 data items
  • metadata for each item including definitions and descriptions
  • data collection overviews with information about each collection

Current collaborative projects

National Maternity Data Development Project report cover

AIHW and NPESU are working on a project to improve maternal and perinatal data. The aim of the project is to develop a nationally consistent and comprehensive maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity data collection in Australia. The project is guided by an Advisory group consisting of experts in the fields of obstetrics and midwifery, and statistics.

National Maternity Data Development Project Advisory Group (NMDD)

A report has been released on the findings of Stage 1 of the project:

Foundations for enhanced maternity data collection and reporting in Australia: National maternity data development project - Stage 1

National Core Maternity Indicators Project 13283 report cover

AIHW and NPESU are working to develop a set of indicators to monitor the quality of maternity services across Australia. The specifications for 10 indicators have been finalised and endorsed by the heads of Australian Government and state and territory health departments. A report on baseline data for these 10 indicators has been published. Data are also available through a dynamic data display. Further indicators are under development for future implementation.

National core maternity indicators (report)

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Related information

The AIHW also produces reports on the health, development and wellbeing of Australia's children.